Getting your kids moving at home
Due to the current climate where we are spending more time at home, with restrictions for sport and other extracurricular activities ongoing, the opportunities for getting our children’s bodies moving can be seen as limited. At Qualia, we consider health, movement and fitness to be a high priority particularly during these times, and use many household items around the home to keep our children’s bodies moving! Try the following tips and strategies with your child (and join in with them!)
These are one of our favourite activities to do in the backyard or inside the house. Ask your child to help you make up an obstacle course by using objects from around the house. Obstacle courses can include:
- Cushions: create a path of cushions for your child to walk across, working on balance and core strength.
- Lines: straight/curved lines can be found everywhere, from cracks in your driveway, to floorboards inside the house, or even drawing your own with chalk. Your child can walk along these lines (being extra careful not to fall off as in case the sharks get them!). For extra challenge, try walking backwards, or heel-to-toe, or spinning!
- Animal walks: these are a Qualia favourite and can be used almost anywhere. Practice walking like a Bear (on all fours) or a cat (on all fours with knees touching as well), or a crab (on all fours with tummy facing to the sky – challenging!). To make it a part of the obstacle course, put two markers a few metres apart and have your child choose an animal walk and walk from the first marker to the other marker.
- Ask your child! They are very creative and feel empowered when they are asked to be involved in making their own obstacle course
These are a great hit to have in the home! Activities can include:
- Throwing the balloon up in the air and, as a family or individual, seeing how long you can keep the balloon in the air. To make the activity more challenging, using one of the animal walks described above and keep the balloon up in the air – our favourite is the crab walk where you can use your feet and arms to keep the balloon in the air.
- Throw the balloon up in the air and, before it hits the ground, perform a set of movements such as “5 star jumps” or “3 hops”
- Play the school favourite Over-and-Under, where your family can stand behind one another, taking it in turns to send the balloon to the back of the line by passing it over the head then under the legs, and the final person runs to the front of the line. Great for core, balance and leg strength through squatting and reaching.
Another Qualia favourite and one of our most used resources for core strength, mobility and fun! Activities can include:
- Placing markers in a line and moving around them in an ‘S’ shape (great activity to add to the obstacle course above!)
- Dodgeball! Have your child in the middle with their tummy on the scooterboard and roll a soccer ball or other ball across and watch you child laugh and smile as they aim to avoid the ball!
- Use the balloon and ask your child to hit the balloon in the air as they scoot around across the floor, aim to keep the balloon floating
- Have your child lie with their bottom on the scooterboard and have them push off the wall with both feet. For added fun value, have skittles or even plastic cups and see if they can knock them all over with one push!
- Pass your child a rope, or large towel, and ask them to lie on their tummy and pull themselves towards you using their hands. Great for developing postural stability!
Contact Qualia if you wish for us to deliver this great resource to your doorstep!
Apps can be used as a great way to help children independently complete movement activities whilst keeping them engaged.
- Sworkit Kids – a great app. Just install, choose either Strength, Agility, or Flexibility & Balance, select how long (varies according to your child, but generally 5 minutes for K-2, 10 minutes for Y3-6, 15 minutes Y7-12), and away they go!
- Cosmic Yoga – a fantastic and engaging way for children to experience yoga, as they enter a movement journey through story (also on Youtube).
- Interval Timer/Tabata Timer – whilst you are doing your own workout, set up a program of exercises for your own child to follow and do at the same time as you. This will help them feel empowered, engaged and motivated (whilst also motivating you!) Depending on your child, they may be able to follow some of the same exercises you do, but if not, here are some examples of activities they can do instead:
- Star jumps
- Skipping (with a rope or pretending to hold a rope)
- Superman’s (lying on tummy, raising hands overhead and lifting legs off the ground)
- Push-ups (or on knees)
We hope you find these tips and strategies useful and would love to hear your feedback or even suggestions on what has worked for you and your child.
Mark Maddison – Qualia Occupational Therapist